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Dolphins release DE Emmanuel Ogbah as Miami begins to clear cap space

The Dolphins released defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, the team announced Friday, two years after signing him to a four-year deal worth $65 million.

Ogbah’s release will save Miami about $13.7 million with a pre-June 1 designation, much-needed relief for a team that was about $38 million over the cap after the NFL’s announcement on Friday that the salary cap will be set at $255.4 million per team in 2024.

The boost in cap is significantly more than most projections, which were in the $242 million range.

Ogbah, 30, was set to have a cap hit of $17.7 million, the seventh largest on the team, but he had no more guaranteed money on his deal.

The release was expected given the Dolphins’ cap situation and after Ogbah played sparingly in the 2023 season, despite a litany of injuries at edge defender. Under former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, Ogbah played a career-low 25 percent of the defensive snaps in 2023.

“I always say I want to be in Miami but you never know what can happen,” Ogbah said on locker cleanout day in January.

The Dolphins originally signed Ogbah to a two-year deal worth $15 million in 2020. He led Miami with nine sacks in each of the next two seasons and was rewarded with his $65 million deal.

But Ogbah failed to recapture that form. In 2022, he had one sack and sustained a season-ending triceps injury, which limited him to nine games played.

In 2023, Ogbah recorded five sacks but wasn’t a fit for Fangio’s scheme and his playing time dropped as a result.

The Dolphins will likely have to add multiple edge defenders this offseason, as outside linebackers Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Philips are rehabbing from severe lower-body injuries.

Andrew Van Ginkel is also a free agent and while his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said there is a mutual interest in a return, he added that Van Ginkel will have multiple suitors after a career-high six sacks in 2023.

The Dolphins on Friday also informed cornerback Xavien Howard that they are releasing him at the start of the new league year on March 13, a source told the Miami Herald. Releasing Howard, who is the longest-tenured player on the team, will save Miami about $18.5 million in cap space but the team won’t be able to use it until June 2 as it is a post-June 1 cut.

The Dolphins are about $25 million over the cap after releasing Ogbah. In the next few weeks, additional moves are expected to get under the cap before the start of free agency on March 13, including contract restructures and possibly more cuts.